Call us on 0800 953 0023

Can a robot replace a security guard?

As advocates of the personal approach to manned security, we were curious to learn of the development of a new robotic security guard.

Technology has become intrinsically linked with security in recent years, with the advent of CCTV, lone worker devices, access control and IP-linked intruder alarms, but most people still feel that having a security professional on hand to talk to is the best way to be reassured.

Can that peace of mind be provided by a piece of tech?

The University of Birmingham has constructed the world's first ever robot security guard and he's called Bob. The robot is part of a £7.2 million project called STRANDS, in which robotic mechanics are coupled with a wide array of sensors that help the technology to replicate human interaction, in theory enabling it to act intelligently and independently in real-world environments.

In time, it is hoped that these robots can be used to provide home care or security assistance. To test it out, Bob was sent to the headquarters of security firm G4S in Gloucestershire. He looked imposing, with a near six-foot frame and is completely autonomous, using 3D sensors to build a picture of what his surroundings look like, which in turn allows any changes to be identified and tracked.

Alterations such as a door being opened, or furniture being rearranged are stored as information. At this point Bob has to then report it back to his human superiors showing that as yet, technology is a long way away from providing the all-round security that manned guards provide.

However, he can be a good surveillance tool. "We wanted to build an autonomous intelligent robot that can be put into a real world scenario like a place of work," said Dr Nick Hawes, who leads the STRANDS project.

"Current robots aren't very good with their hands, or able to manipulate objects, however Bob is good at driving around and monitoring objects, so is perfect for a job in security as a night or day watchman where he can monitor what is going on in his immediate surroundings," he explained.

After his shifts, Bob has now been returned to the University of Birmingham and robotics scientists will be analysing the data from his trial before sending him back out in the field. Eventually it is hoped that he can be equipped with with facial recognition, gesture recognition, license plate scanners and GPS data for autonomous roving, database access and reporting.

As well as the University of Birmingham's efforts, robot security guards are currently being developed in other parts of the world, such as the K5 Autonomous Data Machine by Knightscope in the US.

As exercises in what science and technology can achieve and with more and more people working virtual with technologies such as Velocity Virtual, these experiments are very worthwhile and one day robots may even form part of holistic security set-up, serving as highly advanced CCTV systems or intruder alarms. However, if you need aid in securing your premises, or are looking to reassure staff and customers with a professional presence, we can tell you that you'll be best sticking with manned security for a long time as yet. 


Posted by Andrew Miller

Images courtesy of Thinkstock/Fuse

Get a quote

Get a Free Quote

required *